Stromboli: also known as "Iddu"
Stromboli, in vernacular called Iddu (He), is an active volcano born 160,000 years ago, about 900 meters above the sea level. Its name comes from the greek Στρογγύλη, meaning round, because of its almost round shape.
Explosions and eruptions of Stromboli are so particular and unique that locals often refer them as the “murmurings of Stromboli:” the explosions of Iddu are so strong that the dross and lapilli ejecting reaches tens meters high. The following video represents a nice explosion of Stromboli and was made by my friend Veronica Raffaele, whom I thank so much for her contribution, more evocative than a thousand words.
About the frequency of the burps there are many theories, which sometimes cost the lives of the more imprudent people. Some people say that the bang arrives every hour, some people say every 15 minutes. Iddu is unpredictable and acts as it wants, especially since the geography of its active vents keeps changing from year to year. And sometimes Iddu "shoots" a few minutes from the most recent blast, sometimes it makes you wait anxiously for more than an hour.
One year, a tourist, believing that Iddu was "shooting" every 15 minutes, immediately after an explosion, went closer to the vents to take some photos: unfortunately, the bang came after only 3 or 4 minutes. The recovery of his remains was dangerous and extremely difficult because of the proximity to the most dangerous area of the volcano.
How to attend the Stromboli eruptions (and be happy)
Nowadays it is possible to admire the outburst of Stomboli in several idyllic ways.
Climbing the volcano
The more tiring (very exhausting) is the climb to the craters: four hours climbing makes suffer even the most trained people, because of the continuous change of pace... the last meters you walk in the sand and this is the final straw: you make a step and slip back, with the horrible feeling that you will never reach your goal.
You will recover quickly your breath, but you will loose it again (with joy) looking at the beauty of what your eyes see, and for the amazing feeling to have succeeded. For a moment you will also suspect to have some super powers, and you feel strong as never before.
We recommend to climb the volcano with a guide if you don't want to imperil yourself. Usually the guided climb starts in the late afternoon, when it's not so hot. It is priceless arriving at dark and watching the fireworks of Iddu in contrast with the starry sky.
By boat at the "Sciara del Fuoco"
Another great way to see the volcano is from below, by boat. In the port of Scari there are several stands organizing excursions to the ìsciara del fuocoî, usually the excursions are made after 10 pm. This experience is a must: the explosions are seen from below, but seeing them from the sea is very beautiful.
If you will have the chance to make your excursion with polite people, able to speak in low voice and not so much, you'll appreciate the absolute silence broken only by the burps of the volcano and the noise of the sea, while your eyes will admire the red lapilli in contrast with that wonderful sky.
From the Observatory-restaurant
This is the best solution to enjoy Iddu and its burps together with friends and eating a tasty dinner. The Observatory is located outside the village of Stromboli and strategically located to see the vents. The observatory is the seat of a restaurant pizzeria run by an historic (and funny) family of Stromboli: you can eat there a dish of "spaghetti alla strombolana" or a pizza, comfortably seated in a large terrace facing the vents and you will be very surprised when Iddu will do its show and everyone will say, "Here it is".
We recommend to book in advance your table at the restaurant. And please consider if going there by foot, by taxi or by shuttle bus. It's about one hour walk, the climb is not difficult so not very tiring. The problem is that there are no night lights and especially when you come back home it's better to have a flashlight and closed toed shoes.
Alternatively, if you book at the restaurant you can ask for the complimentary shuttle service provided by the restaurant. It's free but it is a good habit to leave a tip to the boy who will accompany you on. Please consider that the third option, going by taxi, will cost about 50 euros.